A small survey of UV-bright stars around the northern ecliptic pole: Seeking new p-mode sdB variables for the TESS mission


Starting in 2019, the TESS mission will monitor the northern ecliptic pole for 1 year. Data will be collected at 30-minute and 2-minute cadences, and only a limited amount of slots will be reserved for targets requiring a 20- second cadence. Only the 20-second cadence is sufficient to sample p-mode oscillations in sdB stars. From the seismic measurements obtained with the Kepler spacecraft we have gained a wealth of new insights in structural and rotational aspects of mainly g-mode variable sdB stars. Unfortunately only one traditional p-mode sdB variable was found in the main Kepler field. The TESS mission offers the opportunity to obtain more long-time-base coverage of p-mode sdB variables, especially at the ecliptic poles where the time-base will be longest. Thus far, there were only two known (p-mode) sdBVs around the northern ecliptic pole (β > 78): LS Dra and V366 Dra. In this paper we describe our efforts to find more.We compiled a new sample of 76 sdB candidates around the northern ecliptic pole, based on GALEX and optical colours, and we used low-resolution Balmer-line spectroscopy for classification. We identified 39 new sdB stars, of which 29 have characteristics (T eff > 28000 K or a composite spectrum) that may put them in the p-mode instability strip.With our 39 new sdB stars, we augmented the number of known sdB stars in the the northern ecliptic pole area (β> 73) by 46%. Besides these sdB stars, among our spectral classifications are various sdO stars, He-sdB stars, blue horizontal-branch stars, white dwarfs, cataclysmic variables and main sequence B stars. We obtained time-resolved photometry of most of the p-mode sdB candidates, and found one new sdBV, J19384+5824, with a moderately high pulsation amplitude of ≥ 9 mmag.



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Asteroseismology, stars: oscillations, subdwarfs

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Journal Title

Open Astronomy